Rev. Jeff Wood, First Presbyterian Church of Sebastian
The first words of Jesus as the New Testament is arranged, meaning from Matthew to Revelation, are what? First words are important words. What does he say? Answer: The Beatitudes. That’s Latin for “blessed” and appended as a kind of title for nine statements all beginning with “blessed.” Blessed are the poor in Spirit for they shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, the merciful, the pure in heart, and so on. Those are Jesus’ first words, announcements.
Now here is something terribly important that most people most of the time get wrong. I got it wrong and in many ways I still do. This is not, is not a list of why people get blessed – being poor in Spirit or being mournful or being merciful or being pure in heart, or, or, or. It is not that. It is who is blessed.
Let’s take, for example, blessed are the poor in spirit. That means a person is a spiritual zero. Jesus does not say, “You’re spiritually bankrupt, spiritually impoverished, spiritually null and dull, I like that in a person. Because of that I am going to bless you.” Rather he says, “That doesn’t disqualify you … or qualify you … for me being present to you, as “See, I am right now,” and being your help and your king.” So do not today try to be poor in Spirit so God will bless you. God doesn’t work that way. He didn’t give Abraham and Sarah a child because they were old. He didn’t choose Jacob over Esau because Jacob was devious. He’s not going to bless you because of you being the beatitudes. He is going to bless you because of He is in your life.